Like Coming Out Of A Cult
I was guiding a wise woman on a shamanic journey last week. She just needed nurturing. She does the work of helping many people heal and put themselves back together after trauma. She does a good job at it, because she has done it herself, too.
I felt like I needed to guide her to a magical realm, and it was indeed magic. As usual, when I guide people to a special, magical place like that, they feel like they are coming home. But it also sometimes comes with the coming-out-of-a-cult feeling. This is how she described it, and I think it's a great thing to talk about it.
I use the word cult, not as it is literally defined, but rather by the negative connotation it has come to hold--a connotation that includes a kind of sinister group brainwashing. So let's talk about brain-washing. It's accomplished by depriving people of nutrients and sometimes other basic needs and safety while repeating messages over and over. These messages can be anything really. This goes on until a person's soul, will, and self-knowledge are broken/altered and they start to believe or do things they wouldn't have before and even identify with and defend their captors. We see when people are rescued from (or free themselves from) these kinds of situations, the reprogramming is tricky, because the cure feels like the poison. The things that will help them are the things they have been told are the enemy or are bad. The unreal feels real and the real feels unreal.
To various extents, this is sometimes what it is like for some people when they grow up and leave their family of origin, or their town or country. Depending on experiences, some people feel this way when they change religions, leave religion or even when they attempt to add in or integrate new truth and light to their current practice.
In cases like this, it's best not to go to fast. Like starving people--they want food, they want it bad--but they have to start small or they'll throw it all up. Or they'll die.
The wise fairy guides in my friend's journey started with the things that she was not afraid of (like trees, books, and cats) to teach her and help her feel safe with believing in her own spiritual gifts. She remembered that she knows how to come out of a cult because she's done it before. When she left the dysfunction of her family home she found Al-Anon and a guide and steps that helped her. This is just one example.
Another example when I think of brainwashing--I think of the world I am living in and how for millennia we have all be deprived of spiritual nutrients, especially in the form of the divine feminine, and also in personal access to our the Source. We have been given repeated messages over and over that we can't trust our own intuition, that the real is unreal and the unreal is real. We are surrounded by a world that calls evil good and calls good evil. We have been brainwashed for thousands of years about the role and importance and place of women in the whole cosmic scheme. It's been a horror show that most people think of as normal.
So coming out of it is a little confusing, unsettling and some people resist. I used to judge but now I feel compassion for the women I see who defend the old broken systems or defend the logic or ideology of their abusers. I know how it can feel like everything might crumble if they let go of what little power they feel they have gained. But the truth is, slowly and as we are willing, we can see things as they really are. We can let go of the precepts of men, and the foolish traditions of our forefathers and mothers. It's gonna feel weird in patches. I feel it each time I go through a bit of reclamation. But the God of my understanding, She's saying yes, yes. You're doing fine. Keep coming. Baby steps.